- From the ravey thump of his remixes of Alex Coulton and Smoke, and the snarling, breaks-splattered "Hackney Parrot"—a track still shocking dance floors a year since first airing on Boiler Room—you'd think Tessela, AKA Ed Russell, had spent the '90s throwing gun fingers in smoke-filled warehouses. He was actually two years old when Goldie's seminal "Terminator" exploded on a nascent jungle scene, and his punishing take on sounds only slightly younger than him is a way of puncturing a collective nostalgia for rave culture.
Russell's music is rave recalled in horrific flashbacks, where the signifiers of early '90s jungle twist into uncanny shapes. In isolation, no element of Nancy's Pantry sounds novel—it's stitched together from jungle's infinitely sampled breaks, sinuous basses and euphoric piano stabs. Russell approaches them with little respect for their history or connotations; by mutating hackneyed sounds like the "Think break"—that stalwart of everything from hip-hop to hardcore—which disintegrates on the opener into a grinding drum sequence, he presents something recognisable then makes it seem suddenly foreign. It's a disorienting technique.
On "Horizon" euphoric chords counterpoint equally relentless percussion, but soon their effervescence starts to flicker like an unreliable memory. Eventually they collapse entirely, only to reappear, slightly tweaked, on "Gateway." Here they judder beneath kicks so booming that each hit makes the entire track recoil.
A Nancy's Pantry